Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA German and Russian Studies

UCAS code: RR27

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA German and Russian Studies

German and Russian cultures have influenced each other for several centuries, through peaceful cultural exchange, migration and mobility, and war and conflict.

Over one third of Europeans are native speakers of German, while around 150 million people in the world speak Russian.

Through intensive language study, including time abroad, you will have the opportunity to acquire advanced spoken and written skills in both languages on this joint honours programme.

In addition to your language classes, you will explore aspects of Russophone and German-language culture from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century.

Courses cover literature, film and theatre from Europe and beyond, studied in a historical, political and social context.

Why Edinburgh

We are unique in Scotland in offering students a full academic year abroad within the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working.

Our programme is also extremely flexible. In Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines, and specialise as you progress through your honours years.

As a world-leading festival city, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to study European languages in their cultural context.

When you graduate, you will have the combination of broad cultural education and specialist knowledge valued by employers worldwide.

One of the most attractive characteristics of this four-year programme is its flexibility.

In Years 1 and 2, your pre-honours years, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of German and Russian Studies.

As well as broadening your education and skill set, this may enable you to change the focus of your programme in Years 3 and 4, your honours years.

Year 1

German

If you have not studied German before, you will take German 1A, an intensive language course.

If your entry qualification for German is a Scottish Higher, A level, or equivalent, you will take German 1B. This course covers language as well as literature and culture from 1770 to the present day.

As part of German 1B, you will interview a German native speaker working in Edinburgh or Glasgow. This will give you the opportunity to:

  • practise professional communication
  • discover the value of languages in the workplace
  • gain insights into possible career options

Russian

If you have no previous knowledge of Russian you will take Russian Studies 1A, an intensive beginners course.

If you have studied the language before, you will take Russian Studies 1B, which provides advanced Russian language study.

Both of these courses include a unit on Russian culture.

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

Options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences

  • business, economics and informatics

  • politics, social policy and social anthropology

  • art and architectural history

  • history, classics and archaeology

  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology

  • philosophy, divinity and law

Year 2

German

In Year 2 you will develop your oral language skills further. You will also practise translation, grammar, and writing different types of texts in German.

You will continue to study German-language literature and culture, choosing at least two courses from a range of options. These are likely to include:

  • Researching Disability in German Literature and Society
  • Culture, Modernity and the City in the Weimar Republic
  • Reading Antisemitism in Modern German Literature
  • The Contemporary Short Story in German
  • Sexualities on the German Screen (title to be confirmed)
  • Migration in German-Language Discourse
  • German Colonialism: History, Memory, Controversy

Russian

You will build on the spoken and written language skills you developed in Year 1.

You will also choose one of the following three courses:

  • Transnational Russian Culture
  • 19th century Russian literature
  • 20th century Russian literature

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will also choose from a range of option courses offered by the University.

These include a great selection in European languages and cultures, allowing you to study literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts.

Current options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • Cultural Responses to War
  • Migration, Exile, Diaspora
  • Crime and Detection in Literature
  • Gender and Culture
  • The Coming-of-Age Narrative
  • Introduction to European Cinema
  • Dynamics of Language and Power
  • Languages Beyond University

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between a country in which German is spoken and one in which Russian is spoken.

You will typically spend at least eight weeks in each country.

For German, you will either study or complete a work/teaching placement.

We currently have exchange places with universities in:

  • Berlin
  • Augsburg
  • Hamburg
  • Heidelberg
  • Tübingen
  • Freiburg
  • Leipzig
  • Mainz
  • Vienna

For Russian, you will study at a university or language centre.

Whether studying, or combining study with a work placement, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of German-language and Russophone cultures.

During your year abroad, we will aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.

For example, you will take e-learning courses which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your Year 4 language courses.

If international travel is not possible, either in full or in part, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with your subjects, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year.

Year 4

You will develop your advanced skills in German and Russian.

You will also choose from a wide range of specialist, honours-level courses taught by research-active experts.

These courses cover topics such as:

  • film

  • literature

  • history

  • language

  • politics

You will complete a dissertation or long essay in either German or Russian.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2022/23)

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries, collections and centres

Based in the Main University Library, the Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK. The centre brings together a collection of more than 400,000 rare books and six kilometres of archives and manuscripts. It also houses the University’s collections of art, historical musical instruments and other objects.

The Library also holds academic books, journals and databases, films, newspapers and other media. Resources include around 95,000 books and 5,425 journals in German, and around 14,400 titles in the Russian language.

Other exceptional resources include the expansive Karin McPherson collection of GDR writing.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies, clubs and social enterprises, including the German Society and Russian Society.

From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage. EUSA also promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including German and Russian – in the online magazine, Babble. Launch nights typically include readings and performances.

Our Princess Dashkova Russian Centre runs many academic and public events, including the Honorary Dashkova and Honorary John Erickson lectures.

Recent extra-curricular activities in German have included a student-produced film version of the fairytale 'Aschenputtel', a German bake-off, a writer-in-residence programme, and a Christmas carol competition.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. The National Library of Scotland has outstanding holdings in both German and Russian.

We contribute actively to the local cultural scene. You will be able to attend film screenings, performances and talks organised by members of staff for the wider public.

Edinburgh's European cinema scene is particularly strong. Venues often partner in the UK-wide Russian Film Week.

We have excellent links with the German Consulate, as well as with the Goethe-Institut.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between a country in which German is spoken and one in which Russian is spoken.

You will spend at least eight weeks in each country, either studying in both places or (for German) completing a work/teaching placement.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in German-language and Russophone culture and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Language teaching involves developing professional speaking and writing skills, as well as an introduction to professional translation techniques.

Experienced lecturers and language instructors will teach through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • e-learning

You will often work in independent learning groups with the guidance of experienced staff, and will have the opportunity to discuss the latest research of world-leading scholars.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of:

  • exams
  • coursework
  • class participation

Skills and experience

Studying languages to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, a resilient problem solver, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.

Beyond the language skills you will develop on this joint honours programme, and the nuanced understanding you will gain of other cultures and societies, graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs to deadline, both independently and in groups.

Opportunities at home and away

More people speak German as their native language than any other in Europe. An official language of seven European countries and provinces, German also plays an important role in communications in many other countries, particularly in central and eastern Europe. It is the third most popular foreign language taught worldwide.

German speakers are highly sought after by UK employers, particularly those with links to the German economy, the fourth largest in the world. In 2019, German overtook French as the language most sought after by employers*.

There are many Russian speakers in Germany, as well as in China, the United States, France, Spain, Norway and the UK. Around 150 million people in the world speak the language, which plays an important role in global cultural and political contexts.

Increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics means that, wherever you are based in the world, the ability to understand and communicate in your chosen languages will make you stand out.

Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to career pathways in:

  • business, finance and commerce

  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations

  • education, outreach, advocacy and training

  • journalism, broadcasting and media

  • leisure, tourism and travel

  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law

  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts

  • research, development and venture acceleration

  • translating and interpreting

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

At the University of Edinburgh, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in both German and Russian Studies. Our interdisciplinary taught MSc programmes typically include:

  • Comparative Literature

  • Intermediality

  • Translation Studies

Careers advice

We have an excellent Careers Service. Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills, including through peer initiatives such as Life After LLC (Literatures, Languages and Cultures) where you can draw inspiration from our graduates.

Be inspired by our alumni

*As reported by The Independent in April 2019, citing jobs website Indeed. Indeed also said vacancies specifying German language skills had increased by more than a tenth in the previous three years, and that there had been a slight increase in overall demand for linguists.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: a language other than English at B. National 5s: English at C*. (*Revised 11 October 2022 to remove the requirement for a specific language at Higher.)
  • A Levels: A language other than English at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4*. (*Revised 11 October 2022 to remove the requirement for a specific language at A Level.)
  • IB: HL: a language other than English at 5. SL: English at 5*. (*Revised 11 October 2022 to remove the requirement for a specific language at HL.)

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA German and Russian Studies

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding